(par-ee-POOR-nah nah-VAHS-anna) paripurna = full, entire, complete nava = boat
Step by Step
Contraindications and Cautions
Low blood pressure
Neck injury: Sit with your back near a wall to perform this pose. As you tilt your torso back rest the back of your head on the wall.
Modifications and Props
Often it's difficult to straighten the raised legs. Bend your knees and loop a strap around the soles of your feet, gripping it firmly in your hands. Inhale, lean the torso back, then exhale and lift and straighten your legs, adjusting the strap to keep it taut. Push the feet firmly against the strap.
Deepen the Pose
Full Boat is often presented as an abdominal strengthener, which it is to a certain extent. But more importantly this pose strengthens the deep hip flexors that attach the inner thigh bones to the front of the spine. Learn to anchor the heads of the thighs bones deep in the pelvis and lift from that anchor through the front spine. Remember that the lower front belly should never get hard.
You can practice a preparation for this pose periodically throughout your day without even leaving your chair. Sit on the front edge of a seat with your knees at right angles. Grab onto the sides of the seat with your hands and lean slightly forward. Firm your arms and lift your buttocks slightly off the seat, then raise your heels slightly off the floor (but not the balls of your feet). Let the heads of your thigh bones sink into the pull of gravity and push the top of your sternum forward and up.
Strengthens the abdomen, hip flexors, and spine
Stimulates the kidneys, thyroid and prostate glands, and intestines
Helps relieve stress
A partner can help you bring the shoulder blades into your back and lift your sternum by placing his/her hands gently on your back and upper chest to give you something to lift from.
Ardha Navasana (ARE-dah; ardha = half)
From Full Boat Pose, clasp your hands on the back of your head and, with an exhalation, lower the legs slightly. At the same time round your back, so that you are now resting on your sacrum (though your lower back is still off the floor). Stretch your elbows out to the sides and bring the tips of your big toes in line with your eyes.